A Passionist Encounters a Nuthatch!

Sound interesting?  Indeed! 

We had a grace-filled retreat early this week and a wonderful Feast of the Presentation of Mary in the Temple. The next day we had our annual Thanksgiving Day Gaudeamus. Christie shared the following bird-watching experience and Mother asked her to type it up for the blog. Christie, ready to make good on living the spirit of obedience, has done just that! 

I hope her story blesses you!


I was on retreat and had just finished my spiritual reading from a book that had been suggested to me by one of the Sisters.  It was a most perfect day for a walk outside—slightly cool, not a cloud in the sky.  At the beginning of my walk, glorying in the day, I started pondering some of the words I had just read– how before original sin, all the animals were obedient to Adam and came close to him.  He knew all about their nature and named them from this knowledge.  I was thinking how beautiful the original state of man was.  Then I became aware of how active the birds were at this particular time of morning. I enjoy looking out for different kinds of birds on the monastery grounds and then looking up their pictures in our bird book. 

As I walked I spotted a blue jay.  But there was a flock of birds in the trees  that kept flying ahead of me as I neared them.   I looked hard and tried to identify what kind of birds they were, but they moved so fast that I couldn’t tell.  They wanted to stay far from me!  Thinking again about Adam and the animals, I asked Jesus if He would get them to stay still so I could get closer to them.  I told Him to let them know that I wouldn’t hurt them.  But they kept darting ahead of me, and I continued my walk down the path. What a day it was; I was so aware of God’s goodness in His beautiful creation.

I started down another path on a different area of the grounds, and as I neared a wooded area I noticed a lone bird perched on the trunk of one of the trees.  It’s pose on the tree was very striking, not like any other.  As I tried to focus in on it, the thought came into my mind, “Is that a nuthatch?” I think I had only seen a picture of a nuthatch a couple times, but I thought again, “That looks like a nuthatch.”  I was getting a little excited, because I had not seen this bird around this area. I was disappointed, though, because it was too far off to see any of its markings. 

Suddenly, this bird takes flight and is making a beeline right toward me.  I am not exaggerating—if I had not ducked the bird would have flown into my forehead.  I actually felt the air move as the bird flew over my lowered head!  I turned as the bird flew by and I saw it land on a tree just close enough that I could see the markings of its face and head which were very distinctive.  Glory to God, I just knew it was a nuthatch! (which was later confirmed by the bird book). 

After the excitement of the moment settled down, I continued my walk.  A chuckle started to well up within, though, with the thought that Jesus was playing games with me. I wanted the birds to come close, but not that close.   I jokingly said to Him, “Jesus that was not funny at all; that bird almost hit me!“, but then I quickly added, “yeah, it really was funny.”

2 thoughts on “A Passionist Encounters a Nuthatch!

  1. Oh, I love this story! I can’t wait to show this to my daughter Bethany. She has had experiences of being able to approach wild birds and get very close to them. Once, she even picked one up, and I thought it must be ill, but when she opened her hand it flew easily and quickly away. I was amazed. Her favorite saint is St. Francis. I have always thought that St. Francis is involved in her ability to get close to wild birds. What a wonderful story, Christie. Thanks for sharing this.
    Yeah! Amazing experience!


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